Coronavirus: Excessive crowds force beach closures in Australia after only 5 days reopened

SYDNEY, Australia — Re-opening beaches in Sydney, Australia, proved to be a short-lived experiment.

Following a three-week shutdown, the city’s Coogee and Maroubra beaches were re-opened to the public on Monday for exercise only, with officials warning that “sitting or sun-baking on the sand will not be permitted,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

By 1 p.m. today, however, lifeguards shut it all down after large crowds began gathering in the water and on the beaches.

“This closure was really due to the behavior,” a spokesman for the Randwick City Council, which oversees the two beaches, told the Herald, adding, “Very few people are actually exercising. They’re having a splash in the water, and that’s not the purpose.”

The beaches are slated to reopen Saturday morning with strict social distancing policies in place, but that did not stop a few instances of civil disobedience by beach goers unwilling to abandon the sand and surf.

According to The Daily Telegraph, several surfers refused vehemently to exit the water, and one man dove into the water in blatant defiance of the lifeguard’s order. The lifeguard hopped on a jet ski and chased down the rogue swimmer, who told the newspaper, “Someone has to stand up to these people. They’re taking our liberties.”

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